The second regular meeting of the County Board of Legislators was held on Monday, January 25, 2016, in Belmont. All legislators were present for this session. Former Army Specialist Fourth Patrick O’Connor led those present in the Pledge of Allegiance. Patrick served during the Vietnam Conflict, and then returned to this area. He has been active in the American Legion, Emeralds Hook and Ladder Company of the Wellsville Fire Department.
The Board considered fifteen resolutions during this session. A significant number of these resolutions involved aspects of capital projects. Resolutions #12-16 and #13-16 approved and established a capital account for a bridge construction project on Peavy Road in the Town of Angelica. Resolutions #14-16 and #15-16 approved and established a bridge construction project on Hiltonville Road in the Town of Birdsall. Resolutions #16-16 and #17-16 approved and established a bridge construction project on Keller Hill Road in the Town of Cuba. These projects will involve more than $900,000 of expense, and will be funded out of current appropriations, rather than by bonding. This represents an investment in infrastructure and the future of our county. Resolution #23-16 approved a three year maintenance contract with F&F Electric, Inc., covering generators located at County 911 radio towers.
Resolution #11-16 called on the State of New York to restore funding parity between capital plans for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (“MTA”) and the NYS Department of Transportation. The current capital plan proposes committing more than $8.3 billion in state resources to cover the MTA’s funding gap. That creates an enormous inequity compared to state resources spent on Upstate transportation facilities. Resolution #18-16 re-appropriated $98,946 in unspent funds from the 2014 Technical Rescue and Urban Search and Rescue Grant. Resolution #19-16 re-appropriated $52,500 in unspent funds from the Homeland Security contract. Resolution #20-16 accepted and appropriated $37,500 from the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Service Narcotics Grant.
Resolution #21-16 accepted and appropriated $9,100 from the ACCORD Corporation for the ACT II Batterers’ Program. Resolution #22-16 approved an agreement between the County Probation Department and ARA-Counseling Center for provision of a forensic evaluator. Resolution #24-16 authorized establishment of “The Allegany County Land Bank Corporation. This land bank can apply for grant funds to acquire vacant, abandoned and/or tax delinquent properties to rebuild communities and foster local economic development. Resolution #25-16 accepted the insurance proposal submitted by Richardson & Stout Insurance Company for $248,719.20. It also authorized the Clerk of the Board and personnel to secure other needed insurance coverage.
The Board also approved the audited bills for the latest period. These bills amounted to a total of $2,924,087.37 for approximately two weeks. This included two weeks worth of Medicaid expenses. The weekly Medicaid expense for 2016 is $193,186.00. In just four weeks Allegany County has paid $772,744 for this State mandated and controlled program.
The beginning of a new year involves extra activities and meetings. In addition to the regular Board sessions and committee meetings there have been special Committee of the Whole meetings to address special issues, including selection of a new County Administrator, space needs issues, and other matters. I have been involved in special meetings involving the County Farm Bureau Association, the County Cooperative Extension Association, and various county labor negotiations sessions. At least during the early months of each year I spend more than 3 days per week on county business. I shouldn’t complain because I volunteered for this position. However, it does raise a serious question about who can afford to spend the time required to be an active and informed County Legislator. Our County is very fortunate to have dedicated and energetic public servants serving on the Board of Legislators.